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How Long Does It Take To Install a Water Heater?

Fact checked by Stephen Conklin

How Long Does It Take To Install A Water Heater

Asking yourself “how long does it take to install a water heater?” is one way to kick start your installation plans. We have different water heaters up to this date, and each has a diverse installation process.

Primarily, Licensed plumbers take about 2-3 hours. If you plan to install the heater by yourself, it would surely take a while, especially if you’re a beginner DIYer. But don’t worry, I have got you covered with fundamentals about the length of each procedure.

Table of Contents

What Processes are Involved in Setting Up a Water Heater



Removing Previous Water Heater (If applicable)

When it’s time to replace the water heater that you must have enjoyed for years, you should consider how much time it would take to disassemble everything. On average, it would take 45-60 minutes to finish this process because it involves multiple steps.

The process involves draining and removing the tank then disconnecting the water lines/electrical wires. Therefore, it could take an hour or so at some point. The more process you need to do before placing your new water heater, the more time you will spend on the entire installation.

Placing Your New Water Heater

After unboxing the tank, you should be able to secure it in your desired position. It takes at least 30 minutes. Please note that the weight of the water heater contributes to the length of this process.

You are more likely to exceed this time frame depending on the physical properties of your water heater. There’s no telling exactly when you can manage to put up everything unless you’re a pro already or you have someone to assist you until the end.

Connecting and Fixing The Water Line System

This final step gets the water heater ready. It will usually take approximately 45-60 minutes to connect the tank with the water lines and power source. One thing is for sure, it won’t take you a day to finish this. However, if you have a gas model, expect that the completion time will be longer.

Testing the Water Heater

After connecting the heater to the power source and adjusting the setting, you should test your unit to see if it works accordingly. This last process requires at least an hour. The average gas tank heater needs at least 30 to 40 minutes to fully heat up.

Factors that Affect the Installation Time



Plumber or DIYer

If you’re a seasoned DIYer, you probably know about every nook and cranny of DIY projects, so it will be easier for you to set things up quickly, but if you’re a beginner DIYer, you could expect at least 4 hours to finish it.

You need to hire a plumber if you aren’t knowledgeable about how a water heater works. Aside from it will make the installation faster, it will reduce or prevent safety risks. Mostly, water heater warranties are voided when the installation is not done by a professional. Generally, a certified plumber’s labor costs 45-60 dollars per hour.

Installation Code Requirements

Before you jump into installing your new water heater at home, you should first know if you can legally do this activity in your place. Water heaters can be defective if not maintained regularly. As a result, water heater installment codes are implemented.

Codes vary from one state to another, but they all include several restrictions for safety, such as location, vent, and clearance. Completion of these requirements takes time. Therefore, it has a substantial impact in determining how long it will take you to install your residential water heater.

A proper water heater installation should include skilled individuals in areas of plumbing, electrical, and carpentry. If you are out of budget to avail installation services, it is okay to do DIY projects: as long as you are skilled or you know someone who is.

Moreover, a water heater permit containing an inspection request is necessary. After that, an inspector will drop by your home to check if the installation conforms to the local codes.

Your water heater system needs an electrical permit if it requires wiring changes. Likewise, a plumbing permit is necessary for gas and water line changes. Both premises can be complex sometimes because a simple mistake can compromise your safety.

Types Of Water Heater

As mentioned from the start, water heater types are one significant indicator of how much time you will spend in installation. There are two main types of water heaters: tank-type and tankless. Tank-type water heaters commonly include gas, electric, and hybrid versions.

Most tank units take approximately 2-6 hours to install. If you plan to buy a tank heater, it will take up a lot of space, and because of that, it will probably take additional time to place it. But the overall installation is easy and less expensive.

On the other hand, tankless water heaters need more or less 2-3 hours. However, they are more challenging to install than tank-type water heaters because of their special venting requirements. Plus, they need bulky gas lines due to the higher BTU rating.

Energy Source

Upon figuring out how much time you need in the installation, it is all-important to consider the energy source. Gas-fired and electric water heaters are known to have an uncomplicated system which decreases the installation time.

Otherwise, if you choose to install a solar-powered heater, the solar system itself will lengthen the installation.

Water Heater Basement

As we tackled types of water heaters, we have known that tank-type water heaters are not advisable in cramped spaces. Expect that the installation duration will be longer than the average if spaces are limited. Thus, water heater repair experts prefer tankless heaters in this case.

You have to make more physical adjustments if you go for a tank heater for your small space. Make sure to allocate ample space if you plan to buy a tank water heater system. In this manner, you no longer have to reroute the piping connections and fuel source.


Your first-hand water heater installation experience can be memorable and sometimes nerve-racking. The question “how long does it take to install a water heater?” varies depending on your heater’s requirements.

If you’re a beginner, make it a habit to consult professionals before you start hooking up your water heater system to avoid potential dangers. If you’re a DIY expert, securing a water heater permit is a must to make the installation safe for you and your family.

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